steve.carter@gaflnews.com



TIFTON -- The Abraham Baldwin Fillie tennis team leaves for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Division I Tennis Tournament this morning. Head coach Alton Hudgins' team will go to College Station, Texas for the event which begins Sunday.

In the last national rankings released, ABAC was the No. 5 team in the nation. They were ranked behind Broward (Fla.) and three Texas schools, Tyler, Laredo and Lee.

To jump over those schools, the Fillies will have to rely on the play of Luiza Biktyakova and Natalia Drabova. As freshmen last year, the duo won the national title in doubles and Biktyakova finished as the champion of the No. 2 singles flight.

This year Biktyakova will be at No. 1 and Drabova at No. 2 in singles play.

"Both of them should do really well for us," ABAC head coach Alton Hudgins said.

The coach also said he is looking forward to seeing how the rest of his team will respond at nationals.

"I am very interested to see how Chenelle Kruger will do at No. 3. She has played really well of late," Hudgins said.

"This should also be a good experience for our freshmen (Kate Magill, Haley Clarke and Paige Latham). They have played better and better as the season has gone along."

One player that will not be making the trip is Jodi Benson. The Ocilla native will be undergoing surgery on her injured knee today.

"That is a disappointment, because she really wanted to get to go out there. We are going to miss her," Hudgins said.

The ABAC head coach said he hopes his team can follow a simple formula.

"I think if we play well, we will do well," said Hudgins.

"This chance is a good reward for this team. They have worked hard to earn this chance."



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